The news of the week: 3 – 9 April

What's happening at the university? Afraid you missed anything? Here is your weekly update from 3 - 9 April.

What went wrong with My University?

thumb-myuniversityIt was supposed to be the answer to the old, convoluted RUG website with its 400,000 pages, but My University has fallen out of favor.

It’s only been around since September 2012, but My University, an all-in-one platform for programmes like Nestor and Progress as well as public transport and weather apps, is rarely used by students and staff. Email doesn’t load, apps don’t work and some students can’t even log in, but many more don’t even realize that the platform exists. The platform has until the end of 2014 to fix its problems.

‘Don’t use Google’

thumb-GmailIBM and chemical company DSM don’t want researchers at the RUG to use Google for fear of industrial espionage. The multinationals worry that sensitive information could fall into the wrong hands through Google due to monitoring by the NSA.

IBM did not want to comment directly, according to Business Development Executive Jan Blommaart, who is working on the RUG’s Target project of which IBM is a partner. Professor Michel Boesten, who works with DSM Research in addition to the RUG, says that sharing information through Google presents a problem for the chemical company.

Gyas just misses out on gold

thumb-varsityGroningen’s rowing team Gyas finished second in the 131st Varsity race in Amsterdam on Sunday morning. Nereus, an Amsterdam team, won once again.

The Gyas rowers – Rogier Blink, Nanne Sluis, Gerbren Spoelstra, Geert Hemminga and helmswoman Linde van Tilburg – were eager to race, but it was over in 9 minutes and 57 seconds after the 5 A.M. start when Nereus crossed the finish line first. Gyas finished three seconds later, in second place, but had they won, there were plans to throw an epic party at Albertus on Sunday night. Instead, the party remained in Amsterdam.

Energy Academy ‘super green’

energy-academy2Construction will begin in 2015 on a sustainable building for the RUG’s Energy Academy. The 10,000 square meter building will be built beside the Bernoulliborg at Zernike, and earth, water, air and sunlight will be utilized for air conditioning.

An air channel beneath the building and a ‘solar chimney’ will be used for heating or cooling air and water, and the toilets will use rainwater. It will cost 100 million Euros and will employ 300 researchers. Eventually, 100 international researchers will also join the Energy Academy, which is a collaboration among the RUG, Hanzehogeschool, GasTerra and Energy Valley.

Chlamydia remains popular

thumb-soa-chlamydiaChlamydia remains the most common STI among students in Groningen, especially women younger than 25, according to the community health service GGD Groningen.

Out of all diagnosed STIs, 67 percent were chlamydia, but the number of cases decreased from 2012 when there were 1,681 cases – in 2013, there were 1,616. Conversely, the number of HIV infections has increased: 15 cases in 2012 and 29 in 2013, primarily among young, gay men.

Syphilis and gonorrhea were also contracted primarily by gay men. The number of gonorrhea cases has also increased from 132 in 2012 to 145 in 2013.

2,000 visitors for Greenkicks

EnergyStrategyExperienceSpelAbout 2,000 RUG employees and their families visited Greenkicks, a sustainability fair with dozens of environmentally-friendly booths and informative events, at the Euroborg on Friday.

Two biology students nearly got a perfect score in a game where players create a balanced power grid for the Netherlands. One player said it was a challenge: ‘You want to use sustainable energy sources like wind turbines, but they generate less power than a nuclear power plant.’

Jessica de Boer reiterated that in her lecture: wind turbines would have to cover 75 percent of the province of Groningen to cover the city’s electricity needs.